WHAT TO EXPECT IN V&A DUNDEE
of big is baleful. “Architects design big volume and big volume is very dangerous sometimes,” Kuma suggests. “Big volume can kill the environment. In the 20th century designing big volumes is very heroic. Architects are very proud of doing that. But now I feel a shame to do that kind of thing.”
You would put it that strongly? “Yeah. Architects should be as humble as possible and as careful as possible. It’s not a heroic profession at all. It’s anti-heroic.”
This is swimming against the currents of architecture over the last 30 years (at least). But maybe the tide is moving in Kuma’s direction. In the 21st century architecture is about sustainability, about reducing the environmental impact.
The collapse of, first, the bubble economy after Black Monday at the end of the 1980s and then the Japanese tsunami in 2011, which killed more than 19,000 people and was the greatest disaster to hit the country since the US dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, has transformed the debate about architecture in his homeland. “In Japan we changed our way of thinking. Before, most Japanese thought the concrete building was much stronger. But the tsunami changed that mentality.”
Maybe that shift in attitude can be seen played out in the competition to build Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic stadium. Hadid’s practice won the original competition in